RESPONSE TO THE THIRD REPORT OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTS
Chapter 3, Inuvialuit Final Agreement
of the October 2007 Report of the Auditor General of Canada
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
provide an Action Plan to the Public Accounts Committee as per the commitment
made to the Committee by 30 June 2008 that describes how the Department will
implement the recommendations made in Chapter 3: Inuvialuit Final Agreement of
the Auditor General’s October 2007 Report.
We are pleased to report that an updated Action Plan which sets out the actions
necessary to meet each recommendation was forwarded to the Committee in August
2008. The initial Action Plan was included in the Departmental response
component in the Auditor General Report tabled in October 2007 and noted that Indian
and Northern Affairs Canada agreed with all of the recommendations contained in
the report. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada will
provide the Committee with an update on the status on the report
recommendations in October 2009.
and Northern Affairs Canada provide the Public Accounts Committee with a status
report on its implementation of the recommendations contained in Chapter 3: Inuvialuit
Final Agreement of the Auditor General’s October 2007 Report by 31 March 2009.
Over the past
several months Indian and Northern Affairs Canada has made significant progress
on many of the recommendations made by the Committee. This response represents
the most up to date action taken by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
As part of the
departmental tracking and reporting system, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada tracks
its progress on action plans developed in response to the Auditor General’s recommendations.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada provides, on annual basis, the Auditor
General with status of progress on all outstanding action plan items (including
those developed in response to the 2007 report on the Inuvialuit).
and Northern Affairs Canada provide confirmation to the Public Accounts
Committee that the transfer of land for the airport runway has occurred when
final approval has taken place and that all of the parties involved in the
transfer are content with the arrangements.
When the Inuvialuit Final Agreement was signed in 1984, the airport lands were
erroneously transferred and included in section 7(1) of the Inuvialuit Final
Agreement as Inuvialuit lands. It was agreed between parties that since these
lands are necessary and are being used by Canada, an exchange would occur to
compensate the Inuvialuit for this anomaly.
Negotiations have been underway since 1991. In 2005, arbitration was initiated by the
Government of Canada against the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC). In 2007 the parties to the
arbitration agreed to put the arbitration in abeyance in order to attempt to
reach a negotiated settlement.
In January 2008, Canada (Indian and Northern Affairs and Transport Canada) and the IRC reached a
tentative settlement on the airport land transfer. The
Parties are engaged in drafting a settlement agreement which they anticipate
will be finalized by the fall of 2009.
Once the negotiations and/ the land transfer have been completed, Indian and
Northern Affairs Canada will confirm to the Committee its completion by
providing the Committee a copy of said agreement.
and Northern Affairs Canada accelerate the development of guidelines to
transfer lands to the Inuvialuit to 31 December 2008 and provide the Public
Accounts Committee with a copy of the guidelines by that date.
At the time of the effective date of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, 21 parcels of land being used by
Canada (for such activities as research and defence) were encumbered pending
completion of Government requirements for the land and its satisfactory
cleanup, at which time the parties agreed to have the encumbrances removed so
that full control would return to the Inuvialuit. These parcels make up the
Annex R list in the Inuvialuit
In 2003, written guidelines "Steps Required to Terminate and Remove Annex 'R'
Reservations or Portions of Reservations as an Encumbrance Against the Title of
Inuvialuit Lands” were jointly developed by the Inuvialuit and Canada to be
used to guide Government officials in administering their use on the Annex R
land. To date, this document guided the Parties in releasing two Annex R sites.
Site inspections are underway and it is fully anticipated that at least two
more sites will be vetted through this process by summer and fall 2009. As the
parties continue to work with the remaining Annex R sites, the step process
guidelines will be refined as required to improve their efficacy.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada will apply lessons learned in this exercise to
fine- tune the "Steps Required to Terminate and Remove Annex 'R'
Reservations or Portions or Reservations as an Encumbrance Against the Title of
Inuvialuit Lands" to serve as a guideline for other federal government
and Northern Affairs Canada provide the Public Accounts Committee with a copy
of the updated Treasury Board Contracting Policy and that INAC provide an
explanation of how the updated policy reflects the obligations stated in the Inuvialuit
Final Agreement in its annual report on this Agreement.
In Indian and Northern Affairs Canada’s response to the Auditor General report it
was noted that INAC was part of an interdepartmental working group established
by Treasury Board Secretariat for the development of amendments to the Treasury
Board Contracting Policy, which will update the process for government
procurement in the context of comprehensive land claim agreements. The amendment
has clarified departmental responsibilities for monitoring and reporting
requirements of Crown procurements undertaken in regions covered by
comprehensive land claim agreements, including the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.
Contracting Policy amendments were approved on June 19, 2008 and as per the Committee’s
request, a copy of the updated Treasury Board Contracting Policy is attached
It is anticipated that the updated policy will strengthen Canada’s ability to meet its contracting
obligations as set out in the Inuvialuit Final Agreement as well as all other
comprehensive land claim agreements.
Further to Recommendation 5, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada will work with the
Inuvialuit to develop an explanation of how the updated policy reflects the
obligations stated in the Inuvialuit Final Agreement for inclusion in the Inuvialuit Final Agreement
Annual Report of 2008 – 2009.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada work with its partners in the Inuvialuit Final
Agreement to clearly define “reasonable share” by 31 December 2008 and provide
a copy of this definition to the Public Accounts Committee.
Where the Inuvialuit are capable of supplying goods and services on a reasonable
basis, the Inuvialuit Final Agreement commits
the federal government to providing the Inuvialuit with a "reasonable
share" of non-public contracts awarded within the Inuvialuit Settlement
Region. This concept is undefined in the Agreement and the Parties have yet to
reach consensus on its interpretation. However, the Parties have agreed to
discuss "reasonable share" and have noted that reaching an agreed
upon definition will take months of collaborative discussions to ensure all
parties are satisfied. Once there is agreement as to the definition of
“reasonable share”, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada will ensure that the
definition is shared with all federal departments to guide them in their
contracting work in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.
and Northern Affairs Canada ensure that the untendered contracts awarded under
the “reasonable share” provision of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement be priced in
a similar manner to other untendered contracts by including this in the
definition of “reasonable share”.
Indian and Northern
Affairs Canada will take this recommendation into consideration, and examine
its viability. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada will be working with affected
departments and agencies as well as the Inuvialuit to the Inuvialuit Final
Agreement to develop a definition of "reasonable share" and endeavour
to include this recommendation in those discussions.
and Northern Affairs Canada include in its annual reports on the Inuvialuit
Final Agreement a status report on the progress of the economic assessment and,
once the assessment has been completed, status reports on the response to
issues raised in the assessment.
Section 16 of the Inuvialuit
Final Agreement sets
out measures to support full Inuvialuit participation in the northern Canadian
economy, and the Inuvialuit integration in Canadian society through development
of an adequate level of economic self-reliance and a solid economic base. In
that section, the Parties are committed to a review as to the progress against
these objectives starting in 2000 and every five years thereafter. The first
review was completed in November 2001.
The Parties agreed that the first review process had not been as useful as
anticipated and agreed to forgo the second scheduled review. In 2007, the
Parties established an Economic Measures Working Group to work towards
advancing the objectives of the section. In this context, the Parties agreed to
jointly undertake an assessment of the economic development opportunities in
each of the Inuvialuit communities and examine the effectiveness of government
program support for these opportunities. The Parties expect this first phase to
take approximately 18 months with the second phase continuing an additional
Canada’s representative on the
Inuvialuit Implementation Committee will ensure that progress on this important
initiative is included in the Inuvialuit Final Agreement Annual
Report and will ensure that issues raised in the second phase of the project
are analysed and addressed as is appropriate.
and Northern Affairs Canada report on the progress made in achieving the Inuvialuit
Final Agreement’s principles in its annual report on this Agreement.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in its response to the Auditor General committed to
working with its Inuvialuit
Final Agreement partners
to develop performance indicators with a view to measuring progress towards
meeting the principles of the Inuvialuit
Final Agreement and
reporting that progress in the Inuvialuit
Final Agreement Annual
An Impact Evaluation of Comprehensive Land Claims, which examined four agreements
– the NQA (Naskapi), the Inuvialuit, Gwich'in and Sahtu, was approved by the
Departmental Audit and Evaluation Committee in February 2009.
The evaluation addressed six broad issue areas corresponding to anticipated
outcomes of the agreements - fulfillment of Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement
terms; clarity and certainty; enhancement of working relationships;
stable and predictable environment for economic development; meaningful and effective
voice for Aboriginal people in decision making; and community social and
The evaluation supports the following positive
The basic elements of the agreements are in place with land and financial transfers
completed on schedule;
Agreements have succeeded in bringing clarity and certainty to the settlements areas in
terms of land ownership, access and regulatory requirements for development;
Land claims settlements have contributed to a positive environment for investment;
Settlements have enabled Aboriginal groups to position themselves to take advantage of development;
Settlements have had a positive impact on the role of Aboriginal people in the economy of
the settlement areas and their relations with industry; and
Aboriginal groups now have a meaningful and effective voice in decision making on land and
However, the evaluation also noted that:
only modest gains were achieved in areas of income, employment, education and housing in the
settlement areas since the agreements were put in place.
there has been insufficient funding to address the costs as well as the
organizational and training requirements associated with the increase in
consultation and resource management in the settlement areas.
there has been a lack of targeted development and training opportunities in the north.
Although Canada believes that progress towards these Principles is the responsibility of
both parties to the claim and while the agreement is an important tool, it is
only one of many contributing factors towards the attainment of these
principles; however, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada will work with the Inuvialuit Final
Agreement Implementation Committee to
seek agreement on including results from the impacts evaluation in the Inuvialuit Final
Agreement Annual Report as well as
agreement to use baseline data from the indicators used in the evaluation to
measure progress made in achieving the Inuvialuit Final Agreement’s principles.
and Northern Affairs publish its own annual report in a timely manner detailing
its progress in the implementation of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement even if it
does not have information from the other organisations involved in the
Agreement. This annual report should also document which partner organisations
have not provided information in time to be included in the report.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees with the Committee and Auditor General’s
observations that in order for annual reports to be a proper and effective
accountability tool they must (1) be produced in a timely manner, and (2) they
must focus on results. However, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada differs on
the need to produce a separate annual report without the input from the
Inuvialuit, Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of
Yukon, as this would run contrary to the cooperative relationship among the
Parties to the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is aware that current processes in place to
complete annual reports requires strengthening and is taking steps with our
partners to enhance the quality and timeliness of all outstanding annual
reports for the Inuvialuit Final Agreement as
well as those for other claims.
and Northern Affairs Canada include a link in its Departmental Performance
Report to an online report that includes details of its own results-based
performance in the implementation of comprehensive land claims agreements.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is currently in the process of developing a more robust
monitoring and reporting system pertaining to the implementation of agreements.
The enhanced monitoring and reporting system will be updated in the summer of 2009 and the
system will be fully populated by the fall of 2009. The system will support
reporting against key implementation performance indicators noted in Indian and
Northern Affairs Canada’s Departmental Performance Report. This provides for
enhanced transparency and accountability as to the implementation of federal